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Measuring Broadband America Report Released

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the cablevision-users-weeping dept.

The Internet 160

AzTechGuy writes "Early this year I received one of the 'Whitebox' routers to test the speed of my ISP and compare it to the advertised speed. Today I received an email that they have released the first report with another report due at the end of the year. My results do not correspond with the results reflected in the report." It appears that most ISPs are within 80% of their advertised speeds during peak hours with Verizon leading the pack mostly exceeding their advertised rates. Cablevision users, on the other hand, shouldn't expect more than half of the promised bandwidth (youch!).

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So, clearly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963182)

FIOS is awesome, and everything else is less than awesome. Pretty good advertising material for Verizon.

Re:So, clearly... (1)

MischaNix (2163648) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963312)

Could Verizon have 'bought' these results by identifying the MAC's of these routers the FCC provided? Not that I don't trust the validity of the data, but it's a possibility that should be investigated.

Re:So, clearly... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963392)

Considering everyone I know who has FIOS is damn happy with it, I doubt it.

The service really is great. I left TWC for them and now due to the competition TWC has started offering reasonable (above 20Mbps) speeds. Too bad the service is not available everywhere.

Re:So, clearly... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963612)

I have Verizon DSL and even that came in right at the spec'd rate whenever I ran a speed test. Of course it wasn't a bit over the rate, but I get what I pay for and am content with that for the time being.

Errr what? (4, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963228)

My results do not correspond with the results reflected in the report.

You mean a single data point doesn't follow the trend? Throw the study out! It must be crap!

Re:Errr what? (1)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963302)

My results do not correspond with the results reflected in the report.

I have one of the monitoring boxes at home and my results (or at least my perceived experience) do match the results in the report. I am a Verizon (now Frontier) fiber customer. The service rocks.

Re:Errr what? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963516)

I don't think AzTechGuy was suggesting that. It would be pretty stupid to submit an article only to say it wasn't true.

"Read this report. Did you read it? IT'S CRAP! DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME READING IT!"

On the other hand, he -could- have submitted it, knowing full well that slashdotters never read TFA. Maybe he figured if he didn't submit it, we might read it...

Re:Errr what? (1)

AzTechGuy (1108805) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964004)

You are correct. I know others saw different results, I was just expressing that my results did not correspond. I never said the report was not accurate. I was actually a little surprised because of results but I didn't dismiss them. If I complain to Cox I am sure they will tell me to get a new modem, which I did last year. If others in my neighbor complain maybe they will discover the bottleneck affecting all of us.

False advertising (3, Insightful)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963268)

I would say that any company that was listed that never reached an average of their advertised speed should be taken to task for false advertising. Maybe dragged in front of the FTC, and possible legal action since it looks like most providers are never able to deliver their advertised speed.

Re:False advertising (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963366)

They should make ISPs advertise minimum speeds, and not 'up to' speeds. So if you buy a 5mbit plan, you will definately get 5mbit at all times, if not more.

Of course I highly doubt many ISPs have the capacity to actually promise anything above dialup speeds at any given time.

Re:False advertising (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963506)

Actually, it should be cap/time. If you have a "100mbit" connection with a 5GB monthly cap, a listed speed above 1.9kbps is false advertising.

The 100mbit number might be listed as "burst speed", since it's what it is.

Re:False advertising (2)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964534)

Actually, it should be cap/time. If you have a "100mbit" connection with a 5GB monthly cap, a listed speed above 1.9kbps is false advertising.

Indeed. As are fuel consumption figures for cars with the throttle anything less than wide open.

Re:False advertising (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963666)

Pay for a dedicated line and you'll get a dedicated line just don't expect it to be as cheap as the non-dedicated lines.

Re:False advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963806)

yep a 5mbit dedicated line will cost you about $250/month.

Re:False advertising (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964360)

who are you getting a symmetric 5mbps for $250/month from? We are paying almost twice that. Is there any sort of SLA at that price?

Re:False advertising (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964822)

who are you getting a symmetric 5mbps for $250/month from? We are paying almost twice that. Is there any sort of SLA at that price?

He's getting it from somewhere that FiOS isn't available.

Seriously, if it wasn't for Verizon's decision to get into TV delivery (which has caused them no end of regulatory issues with local governments who have been bribed by cable companies), FiOS would now be so widespread that the days of paying more than $200/month for a business Internet connection would almost be at an end (unless you want something faster than 150/35).

Re:False advertising (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964036)

Pay for a dedicated line and you'll get a dedicated line just don't expect it to be as cheap as the non-dedicated lines.

Why not? FiOS is often cheaper than other services.

Yes, technically FiOS is shared bandwidth, just like at some point any "dedicated line" becomes shared with other connections. But, from your house to Verizon's central network, you'll never share with enough other users to not get your full speed, even if FiOS gets 100% uptake in the areas in which it is available.

Re:False advertising (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964428)

Why not? FiOS is often cheaper than other services.

Yes, technically FiOS is shared bandwidth...

And thus Captain Obvious answers his own question. If you're on a shared circuit and nobody else is using it then it's effectively acting dedicated. And it will remain acting a such until it's not, at which point you're back to the original situation of the ISP selling oversubcribed bandwidth in order to make it affordable in the first place.

Gee, why does the square peg fit in the square hold instead of the round hole? Perhaps because it's (drum roll please)...SQUARE?

Re:False advertising (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964744)

And thus Captain Obvious answers his own question. If you're on a shared circuit and nobody else is using it then it's effectively acting dedicated.

OK, I know it's hard to understand, but all bandwidth is shared at some point.

For example, if ISP A peers to ISP B at 10Gbps, then even if a line is "dedicated", the fastest a customer of ISP A can get data from ISP B is 10Gbps. If there are 200 ISP A users with "dedicated" 100Mbps lines and all of them try to pull content from servers on ISP B, then they will not be able to do it at their "dedicated" speed. But, ISP A never said their "dedicated" 100Mbps line would get you that speed to every site...just to the inside of their network.

FiOS is exactly like that. Although the sharing is closer to you, Verizon still makes sure you have full bandwidth to their internal network. You share bandwidth with other users in your neighborhood, and if every home in your neighborhood subscribes to FiOS at 100Mbps, you won't all be able to get it right now, as not all of their network is upgraded...the concentrators would limit you to 80Mbps. In the future, that limit will be about 300Mbps.

Since Verizon does not oversell FiOS in any way (i.e., they limit the speed they sell in an area to what would be available if they had 100% uptake), you don't have a "dedicated" line, but you have exactly the same result.

And, if you pay for business FiOS, you do get guaranteed bandwidth in the agreement. It does cost more, but at $85/month for 25/25, it's down in the same range with "standard" connections from everybody else, and certainly not the several thousand dollars a month I suspect you think is required to get "dedicated" bandwidth.

Re:False advertising (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963696)

How can anyone guarantee a minimum speed? An ISP may be able to have such guarantees in their own network (where most stuff isn't), if they have full control over EVERYTHING.

Re:False advertising (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964164)

You can guarantee anything. If the guarantee is not met, you hand out some previously agreed on compensation. Without those checks and balances, the advertised rates are useless. For this scenario, Comcast and Verizon were able to maintain a certain speed to random sites that random users visited as a whole with their network but why couldn't Cablevision? The only two explanations are Cablevision users are going to vastly different sites online then Verizon and Comcast users OR Cablevision is grossly overrating and overselling their service cheating their customers.
That is the whole point of this FCC test.

Re:False advertising (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964748)

As soon as the data leaves the providers own network, all guarantees are gone. The ISPs own uplink might be sufficient, but towards the endpoint there might be some congestion. It might just be that Comcast and Verizon have much better peering partners (with respect to the targets of the tests) than Cablevision. For example I live in a neighborhood where EVERYBODY (approx 4000 houses) has access to FttH (with only 1 plan: 100Mbps up and down), this provider (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edutel) has to have an uplink and downlink of 400Gbps to absolutely guarantee full throughput for everybody at the same time. That would be about 1/3 of the total data traveling trough the Netherlands at the largest exchange at peaktimes: http://www.ams-ix.net/statistics/ [ams-ix.net] . Luckily for the ISP not everyone has an subscription with them since the only appear to have 2 20GE port at the exchange. Also not everybody is using their capacity to the max, the net result is that I can get the full 100Mbps up and down at nearly any moment when using a well seeded torrent. Accessing random individual sites is usually a lot slower.

Re:False advertising (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964376)

available bandwidth, not available speed. In other words if the connection on the other end is slow then I can also download other things simultaneously and use my total available bandwidth.

Re:False advertising (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963814)

All of these sorts of terms are available as business connections. You will note that they cost considerably more, because their oversubscribe rate is lower.

Re:False advertising (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964520)

They should make ISPs advertise minimum speeds, and not 'up to' speeds. So if you buy a 5mbit plan, you will definately get 5mbit at all times, if not more.

What if the limiting factor is something outside of the ISP's control ? Like, say, distance from the exchange or quality of internal wiring for ADSL ?

Re:False advertising (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963442)

The words 'up to' and 'average' do not mean the same thing.

Re:False advertising (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963638)

And most advertising agencies would be in a world of trouble if there were legal consequences for using "Up to" in deceptive contexts like that. "geShitty car insurance-co could save you 15% or more on car insurance" [xkcd.com] and whatnot.

I... I'm not really sure why I said it like it was a BAD thing. I'm e-mailing my congressman right now. No more using the words "up to" in ads, only real averages. Or else they behead you.

Re:False advertising (1)

AzTechGuy (1108805) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963862)

Agreed, however if I am paying for a 12 mbps package and the ISP also has a 7 mbps package and I consistently have a 2 mbps download, never going over 7, then I am going to complain that I am not receiving what I pay for. Drop me down the the less expensive plan and I will settle for 2mbps This is the case in my situation and I do understand that everyone will have different results. I could have a neighbor that pays for the highest package and chews up all the bandwidth in the neighborhood, though unlikely.

Re:False advertising (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964338)

The words 'up to' and 'average' do not mean the same thing.

They could be used together in advertising: You get up to the average in speed with ISP-R-us.

Re:False advertising (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964508)

They could be used together in advertising: You get up to the average in speed with ISP-R-us.

Aha! And with that thinking, your business plan looks something like this:

1. Offer guaranteed average speed SLA to your customer.
2. Customers buy service.
3. Customers try to access site that has uplink on *some other network* which is slower than the average speed your guarantee on *your* network.
4. Customers sue you for a problem that is beyond your control and publicly ruin your image to the point where you start losing customers and can't find new ones.
5. You go out of business due to legal costs.
6. ???
7. PROFIT!!! (for the lawyers...you end up in the poor house)

There's a reason a residential 25Mbit/sec line costs $79.99/month and a *business line* which guarantees a minimum bandwidth cost 10x-20x that same amount. And it's not a conspiracy.

Re:False advertising (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963690)

Pretty much... from the FCC pdf, all of the cable ISPs pretty much delivered ~22mbps. But their marketing branded them as "20" , "25", or "30".

Interesting that the FiOS consistently delivered 110% - 115% of their marketed value. And that practically no one mentions latency, which is probably a bigger selling point, esp. with mobile networks.

Re:False advertising (1)

AzTechGuy (1108805) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963896)

The monthly reports we received included latency. They were pretty detailed. However in the report they broke down day and night speeds, which we did not receive in the monthly reports as far as I know.

Re:False advertising (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963794)

I would say that any company that was listed that never reached an average of their advertised speed should be taken to task for false advertising. Maybe dragged in front of the FTC, and possible legal action since it looks like most providers are never able to deliver their advertised speed.

*sigh* The knee-jerk "call the lawyers!" response never fails to find a taker, does it? And precisely what "false advertising" could you charge them with? Look carefully at the advertising *and* the actual end-user contract. You'll find no promises of any bandwidth anywhere. Quite the contrary, you'll find lots of "speeds up to XX" and "actual speeds may vary" language liberally peppered everywhere. This means precisely what it says: you *may* get speeds "up to" the advertised amount, but you may not. In fact, a strict interpretation of the contract allows them to deliver exactly *zero* bandwidth to you should conditions allow. I know of no ISP that ever does this to anyone, but the contract language is clear.

Next someone will claim the advertising is "misleading" or "taking advantage of uninformed customers." There is no law against selling something to someone who is too stupid to take the time to understand what they're buying, nor should there be. Neither is it misleading to anyone who takes the time to read the fine print, which everyone *should* do before entering *any* contract. If not, you have no one to blame but yourself if you get less than what you *thought* you were bargaining for.

Re:False advertising (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964162)

The problem is that it's dishonest and misleading if you never receive the stated bandwidth. If they're going to play that game, then why not just have everybody advertising as having up to 100 kagillion gigabits per second? The reason is that up to requires that at some point during the month you're receiving that connection or have a reasonable chance of receiving it. If they can't provide the connection of that speed then they're not really providing a connection that's up to that speed.

On a side note, I'm not surprised that Qwest is more or less at the bottom of the pile. 80% seems a bit generous. But I do tolerate it because there are no data caps and the alternative would be Comcast. It is somewhat reassuring that Century Link actually does a better job so hopefully we'll get a better connection in the near future.

Re:False advertising (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964246)

Did you read the post you replied to? Your response was predicted, and prebutted.

Re:False advertising (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964294)

The problem is that it's dishonest and misleading if you never receive the stated bandwidth.

Whew! That's a relief! Then the ISP's have nothing to fear because there is no "stated bandwidth" listed *anywhere* in their contracts or their advertising. It always says "speeds up to" and "actual speeds may vary."

Go ahead. Look closely. I dare you to find any instance where the ISP's are guaranteeing a stated bandwidth larger than zero in any residential ISP contract.

Now that *that's* out of the way...what was the basis of your complaint again?

Promised bandwidth? (2, Insightful)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963294)

Cablevision users, on the other hand, shouldn't expect more than half of the promised bandwidth (youch!).

"Promised bandwidth"? I'm sure if you read the fine print on *any* residential broadband SLA, you'll find the ISP "promises" exactly *zero* bandwidth. Every contract I've ever seen says they promise speeds "up to" a certain amount but there is no lower limit to what they actually deliver. This is akin to the good old days of zero CIR frame relay where the provider had the right to discard up to 100% of your packets if network congestion became an issue. In return, you got rock-bottom pricing. I never saw any ISP ever drop 100% of packets due to a zero CIR, so you were essentially gambling (and winning) that the ISP would always have some spare bandwidth.

I'm sure people who opt for the 22Mbit/sec package expect they should get 22Mbit/sec or something close to it on a regular basis, and if the ISP is only regularly providing, say, 2Mbit/sec then the customer has a reason to be upset. However, to say the ISP is "promising" bandwidth is a complete fabrication. The OP should read up and understand the different between "up to" and "no less than."

Re:Promised bandwidth? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963356)

And why are people like you so ready to bend over and take it up the ass for the corporations? If your capitalistic model of society worked, then your country would not be the crime-ridden nigger infested drug-laced bankrupt shithole that it is. Of all the countries in the world, America is the only one that is moving backwards. Yeah, promised bandwidth. OMG LOLZ YOU SIGNED IT on page 46 of a 6 pt font contract that said exactly the opposite of what the multi-million dollar media ad campaigns were saying - so tough shit. Ethics? Morals? Truth? Nahh, get the suckers to sign after all who gives a fuck we're just in it for the money.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964590)

And why are people like you so ready to bend over and take it up the ass for the corporations?

And why are people like you ignorant enough to assume I'm doing this out of some desire to defend the ISP's? I'm not. If I pay for 25Mbit/sec and get 1Mbit/sec, I'm unhappy about it. I'd dump that ISP and find another one. If that's not possible due to local monopolies, I'd go to the local news station's consumer advocate reporter and get them interested in a story that would embarass the hell out of the ISP, either forcing them to change their policies or scaring the local politicians away from covering for them in the first place.

But I will *not* stand by and allow such idiotic leaps of illogic to stand unchallenged on a site *supposedly* frequented by users who claim to be more intelligent than the average consumer. Claiming that you can sue a company for failing to meet a requirement they never agreed to in the first place (i.e. "promised bandwidth") is ridiculous. How would you feel if your employer could fire you and sue you for damages for failing to work weekends when your employment contract never obligated you to work weekends in the first place? No doubt you'd change your tune if the shoe were on the other foot. That only proves your premise is illogical.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (3, Interesting)

LinksAwakener (1081617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963402)

I agree that expecting 100% of advertised speeds--since the advertisement claims "up to"--is entirely unrealistic. However, there certainly has to be a threshold where a user could claim false advertisement. IMHO, getting 70% of the speed is barely acceptable, 50% is downright atrocious.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964060)

However, there certainly has to be a threshold where a user could claim false advertisement.

Really? Why? How? They're advertising "speeds up to" and the voiceover at the end usually includes an "actual speeds may vary" disclaimer. This isn't false advertising by any possible, logical definition. You may *wish* it were, and it might be *nice for the consumer* if it were, but that does not make it so.

I agree that offering a 25Mbit/sec plan and delivering only 50% of that on a regular basis is atrocious but it's not illegal. The proper thing to do in this situation, however, is *not* to call a lawyer or pull the old "there ought to be a law" nonsense. The *proper* thing to do is to roast then in the in the court of public opinion. Call your local news station and speak to their consumer advocate reporter. Most major stations have them and the love jumping on stuff like this. If the ISP starts losing customers, they *will* alter their policies. If they don't, they go out of business and a superior ISP takes their place.

If they don't, feel free to go and start one on your own that offers guaranteed speeds for similar prices. You'll find it impossible to do so, however, because it's completely impossible to sell 25Mbit/sec guaranteed circuits to mass residential customers for $79.99/month with a 1:1 bandwidth oversubscription rate. Bandwidth costs more than that. The only way it's affordable to sell a 25Mbit/sec circuit to anyone for $79.99/month is to sell the same 25Mbit/sec to, say, 30 customers and statistically plan that all 30 won't demand maximum bandwidth all at the same time, thus violating your SLA. If they do demand it and don't get it, then *you* get sued for false advertising, breach of contract, and all the other lovely legal stuff that comes along with not living up to your end of the bargain. Ain't being the boss of business grand? The fun never stops!

See? There's a reason stuff is the way it is. It's not some grand conspiracy unless there's some kind of protected monopoly involved, and in those cases, the law is being actively manipulated (i.e. politically) to protect the monopoly by some well-paid lobbying group somewhere.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

LinksAwakener (1081617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964354)

Are you purposely trolling, or just stuck in a rage? Not only did I say expecting 100% of advertised speeds unrealistic, but I also said getting 70% of said speeds is acceptable, albeit barely. Furthermore, I never once claimed there WAS a law stating a consumer has the right to take ISPs to court if they don't hit their "up to" speed. All I was saying is that there has to be some threshold (read: less than 100%) where consumers could ARGUE false advertisement. One is expecting intervention from the government, the other is claiming only an arguable case for, as an example, a breach of contract. There's a subtle but distinct difference.

I think maybe you should cool down a bit instead of arguing with people who literally agreed with your point.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964670)

All I was saying is that there has to be some threshold (read: less than 100%) where consumers could ARGUE false advertisement.

And your point, while certainly noble and well-intentioned, is still completely unworkable. Who gets to decide what that threshold is? You? Me? The ISP? Some elected politician who is usually beholden to some lobbyist somewhere that may or may not be on your side? You're arguing "there has to be some threshold" when such a thing is completely subjective. And as with all things subjective, no matter where you draw the imaginary threshold line, there will *always* be someone somewhere that will claim it's unfair, biased against them, etc.

This is why we have things called "contracts" where a "service level agreement" is agreed upon by the seller and the buyer. If the seller fails to live up the obligations clearly spelled out in the contract, the buyer may sue for breach of contract and win. If not, the buyer has no case. Ignorance of the contract terms is no defense, nor should it be. To offer such a thing destroys the very basis on which contracts rest in the first place.

Logic. Try to use it and apply it in all situations. ESPECIALLY in ones you disagree with.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964380)

Check your modem's connection rating.
Whatever it's connected at *is* your speed of record.

Connected at 2333Kb downrate, 683Kb uprate then that's what you should expect +/- 15%.

less than that and they aren't meeting their configured (ie guaranteed) speed.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964684)

unless there's some kind of protected monopoly involved

You haven't been paying attention to most of the US over the last 10 years or so, have you?

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964728)

I have. The monopoly issue is a political problem, not a the-ISP-is-lying-to-me-about-bandwidth problem. The former is affected by the ballot box, not a breach-of-contract or false-advertising lawsuit.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963432)

They protect bandwidth. AT&T protects bandwidth on U-Verse for phone calls and television signals. FIOS protects space on the line for the same reasons. I wouldn't be surprised if Comcast/TWC do it for their phone service.

"You are getting a 22 mbps line, we're just using 21.937 mbps for our stuff" - Your ISP

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964368)

AT&T protects bandwidth on U-Verse for phone calls and television signals. FIOS protects space on the line for the same reasons.

On FiOS, the TV and phone are carried on an entirely different part of the laser spectrum from the Internet, so if that's what you mean by "protects space", then you are correct.

But, it is physically impossible for Internet bandwidth to be reduced because of TV or phone use on FiOS, although they do "share" the overall fiber bandwidth. Since the total fiber bandwidth is on the order of gigabits per second, it's not like you'll ever be close to running out, even with 100Mbps Internet and watching 10 TV channels (each about 20Mbps).

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963488)

How about being able to actually get it at all, or even get close to it. Some of the companies (AT&T, Frontier, and Qwest) never came close (stuck around 80% the whole time). Now for a car analogy, this is like saying my 88 Ford Bronco II with a worn out engine is capable of speeds of up to 100 MPH. If I told you that when selling it to you wouldn't you want your money back since there is no way in hell it could actually go that fast (I am lucky if I can reach 70 in it and have gotten it up to 85 or so once with a nice tail wind). Sadly this comparison is fairly close numbers wise.

Re:Promised bandwidth? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964656)

If it is zero, then you have a problem. During the downtimes, I check with my ISPs for the problems. Usually, they say it is known issues and give me credits for them.

Bandwidth is not "promised", it's "up to" (1)

redstar427 (81679) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963316)

Most consumer Internet does not promise any guaranteed rate or speed, only that it can peak "up to" a certain speed.
If you want guaranteed performance, you will probably have to pay for a business line, which is far more expensive.

Re:Bandwidth is not "promised", it's "up to" (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963530)

Business lines are far more expensive, but worth it if you actually want to get what is advertised. The only issue I have is the up to part of their advertising as I would expect that I should at some point actually see the type of performance they are advertising but in looking at the charts and graphs it looks like a number of don't even get close.

Re:Bandwidth is not "promised", it's "up to" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963610)

Business lines are far more expensive, but worth it for home use if your OCD is bad enough that you keep doing speed benchmarks every spare hour of the day just to make sure your speed hasn't dropped by 50k/sec.

Fixed that for you. Happy to help.

Ugh PDF (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963338)

You know FCC could you please add hyperlinks to your PDF so I can easily go to the desired section?

Verizon Rates vs. Caps (1)

XERQ (2348718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963342)

TFA - Verizon: Sure, you can burst above our advertised rates, but enjoy that bandwidth cap!

Re:Verizon Rates vs. Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963408)

Verizon Fios doesn't have caps.

Re:Verizon Rates vs. Caps (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963438)

Verizon FIOS has no caps.

Only Verizon Wireless has caps.

Re:Verizon Rates vs. Caps (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963882)

Nor does their DSL.

Re:Verizon Rates vs. Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964044)

Verizon FIOS has no caps.

Only Verizon Wireless has caps.

No, wait: FIOS consists of only caps.

Verizon Wireless has some (two) caps.

Re:Verizon Rates vs. Caps (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964624)

They have no set cap written in stone. But if you use enough bandwidth in an area where your usage stands out, they come after you just like the others. If you haven't been called by them, it just means you aren't using enough bandwidth to merit the time to get someone to call. I know people who were downloading just over 250 Gigs a month and got calls about "excessive usage", while others have downloaded almost double that and haven't been bothered. They generate reports of "excessive bandwidth usage" based on the average usage for a particular network segment. If you are near the average for your area you won't be bothered. This of course may change in the future.

good faith? (4, Insightful)

Nyall (646782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963344)

I wonder how long this will last until a class action suit.

I think the ISPs are hiding behind the variables like distance to the tap and peak hours to not make a good faith effort to provide what they are advertising.

In many cases people pay for 3mbs but get 2mbs, then upgrade to the 6mbs plan and get 4mbs, which demonstrates the ISPs capability to have delivered the full 3mbs in the first place.

Verizon is clearly misleading customers! (1)

Ichoran (106539) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963368)

FIOS is dramatically outperforming even its impressive advertised speeds. This means that teenagers can infringe content and be lured by online predators that much faster! Quick, parents, sue Verizon for false advertising! You are getting too much (dangerous) bandwidth!

Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (3, Informative)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963376)

Cablevision users, on the other hand, shouldn't expect more than half of the promised bandwidth

Hmm...Perhaps you may not hit the max advertised rate on Cablevision's Optimum service, but I can tell from experience that it is much faster than most other services. I have Time Warner Road Runner Turbo and I am paying $66/mo for it in Western NY. I MAX out @ 1.7 MBps sustained, with bursts up to 2.0 MBps (Yes, Mega BYTES, bot bits). But when I visit my friends who live in Eastern NY where Time Warner doesn't have a death gripping monopoly on the broadband market, they are paying far less per month for speeds that always exceed 2.0 MBps on STANDARD level service. Optimum Online Boost, which some do have, get in excess of 3.0 MBps.

So in my personal experience, Optimum wipes to floor with other ISPs. Especially because they have no enforced cap like Comcast or FIOS, and are faster than Time Warner and Cox based connections. Benchmarks and speed tests are fine, but my real world use will decide what ISP I look for when it comes time to buy a house somewhere else. I don't care if they only give me 1/10th of their advertised speed. As long as that speed is still faster than the competition for an equal or lesser price, which so far they have been delivering in my experience.

Re:Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963468)

Where in WNY are you?
I live in West Seneca and have 25/25 FIOS. It fucking rocks. FIOS does not have a cap either.

Re:Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963618)

If it's Rochester, then there is no FiOS or anything close to equivalent. Rochester can suck it though. If lack of decent broadband was the only thing wrong with that shithole, I might have stayed a bit longer.

Re:Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964282)

There is too much wrong with Rochester to list. Lack of decent broadband is the second biggest local problem in the eastern suburbs though, behind only the upstate-wide property tax problem.

Re:Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964550)

Correct. It is in the Rochester general area. The only other options are Earthlink cable, but that runs over Time Warner copper anyway, and Frontier. And frontier is garbage in terms of support and overall speed (but so is all DSL). FIOS wanted to come into the area, but they were denied because Time Warner owns all the polls their copper is run on and won't rent the space out to anyone else. Basically Time Warner owns the broadband market up here for end user and business class connections. Frontier owns the high-end corporate side of things because of the Frontier Cyber Center and is in downtown Rochester. All of our high-bandwidth links go through the cyber center.

Honestly I wouldn't want FIOS either, though, because it's Verizon and since they deployed 4G in Rochester their network has SUCKED. I drop at least 2 calls a day. Add that together with everyone else dropping at least 2 calls a day and it makes for a very frustrating experience. Also, they have an enforced cap on their network, and I just can't have an ISP with a cap. The only reason TW doesn't have one right now is because the entire tri-county area threatened to drop their service if they imposed a cap on us.

Re:Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964022)

In North Buffalo (14216) I get 16.22 Down/ 1.78 up, paying for 15 Down and 2 up. Even when I lived on the boarder of Cheektowaga/West Seneca(14227) I got 15.02 Down and 1.48 up.

Re:Cablevision/Optimum is Fine (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964176)

Out here in Eastern Suffolk County(Eastern Long island, NY), customers get between 7 and 13 megabit/second out of the 15 megabit/second cap for regular Optimum Online. Customers that see less than that are having problems, and it is normally a routine service call to solve the problem. These speeds are based on speedtest.net.

In general, unless there is an excess of capacity(meaning few customers), people should not expect to see 100 percent of the advertised speed. Initial service offerings will have excess capacity, but as the number of customers increases, there WILL be capacity limitations. FIOS at this point is probably running at a loss while trying to get more customers if there is that much extra capacity on that network.

Why are these graphs not symmetric? (2)

mc_barron (546164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963388)

If these speeds are averages over several days, and we are looking at 24 hours of data, then why in the world does the right side of the graph not mirror the left side of the graph? Surely the speeds don't suddenly change at midnight?

Re:Why are these graphs not symmetric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963632)

Perhaps people are scheduling torrents to startup at full speed at midnight.

Re:Why are these graphs not symmetric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963848)

could it be that for whatever reason a bunch of their routers have degrading service throughout the day (memory leaks? too many requests for their buffers?) and everyone reboots their network at midnight? It's weird that ALL of the graphs seem to have this problem, but maybe everyone buys the same hardware to run their networks on?

Re:Why are these graphs not symmetric? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963888)

Does it say it's an average in the article? I was looking for details that might answer your question. Maybe they're averaging many users on the same day, or maybe they aren't averaging consecutive days.

Re:Why are these graphs not symmetric? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963912)

Because the graph is not saying that is the speed at midnight. The beginning of the graph shows the average speed between midnight and 2 am. This is a two hour window after midnight, while the end of the graph is the average speed for the two hours leading up to midnight.

It is very reasonable then to expect the average speed to increase for the two hours after midnight seeing as average load would drop on the networks. Also leading to midnight you'll see higher loads as you are coming to the end of prime time usage

Thus the speeds don't change at midnight because that is not how the graph works.

Re:Why are these graphs not symmetric? (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964358)

In the full report (linked as pdf) the same graph has one more data point. The low point is then 8pm-10pm, and the next point starts an upwards trend so that it seems feasible that the curve is continuous across midnight.

Remember USA Broadband is a low bar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963398)

For most countries with good broadband 100MBS up AND down is fairly standard.

Re:Remember USA Broadband is a low bar (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964186)

And in those countries, the government subsidizes the network. Here in the USA, the government is all about helping big oil and energy companies, and politicians are generally anti-technology, except for military technology.

Re:Remember USA Broadband is a low bar (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964420)

Quick lesson in reality for you - the government doesn't subsidize anything. Taxpayers do. The government owns nothing, has no money of its own, and fortunately here in America, is not (yet) the all powerful daddy who gets to tell us how we can live.

Re:Remember USA Broadband is a low bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964498)

Really? Are you in Canada or Mexico? Because you sure as shit aren't in the USA. The local, state, and federal governments regulate most everything I do all fucking day long. Including fucking for shit's sake!

Re:Remember USA Broadband is a low bar (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964400)

Yeah? "Most" countries? Are you sure you aren't just talking about "your" country and you really have no idea?

Cablevision customer here... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963420)

Over the past year or so, I've noticed that my Steam downloads - which would usually cap out at 1.2MB/sec - have been topping out at around 330K/sec after I get home from work. Other people I know have had problems with video streams constantly buffering when watching live video. I've considered upgrading to their "Boost" service, to see if that would help, but if this graph is any indication, it won't matter one bit. I priced out Fios a few years ago, when they first rolled out in my area, but I think it may be time to compare the pricing again.

Makes me wonder what the increased prices in the cable bill are going towards, if they're not building out any network capacity at all.

Re:Cablevision customer here... (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964214)

Go to speedtest.net and test your line, if you see less than 7Mbps down, call customer service to get your problem fixed. Any company WILL have problems with areas or individual customers, but if people don't call to report the problems, how is Cablevision supposed to know and test to find the source of the problem?

Re:Cablevision customer here... (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964340)

Go to speedtest.net and test your line, if you see less than 7Mbps down, call customer service to get your problem fixed. Any company WILL have problems with areas or individual customers, but if people don't call to report the problems, how is Cablevision supposed to know and test to find the source of the problem?

And as soon as you call customer service, a kindly representative will happily inform you that, if you'd bother to read the contract, you'd already know there is no guaranteed minimum bandwidth, so there's nothing to fix in the first place. Thank you for calling, and try back next time when you have a legitimate complaint.

And yet FIOS is not available in most areas.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963524)

FIOS is soo good because not a lot of people are on it!

Once FIOS expands, I'm sure the network will get bogged down and speeds will drop to below advertising speed.

FIOS is not available in my area. Managed to talk to a Verizon sales person and said that penetration is slow because of regulation and dominance of the larger cable companies.

I would kill for FIOS!!!

Re:And yet FIOS is not available in most areas.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963728)

FIOS has electrolytes!

Re:And yet FIOS is not available in most areas.... (1)

Nanosphere (1867972) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963880)

We have FIOS at my job, 25mbps. My home 2 miles up the same road is 768kbps DSL, FIOS not available there. Tried upgrading to 3mbps DSL and the connection kept dropping, after two weeks going back and forth with tech support they determined I was too far away from the "office" for anything over 800kbps. Fuuuuuuuuu.......

Re:And yet FIOS is not available in most areas.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964322)

Managed to talk to a Verizon sales person and said that penetration has slowed because they already milked out the high density areas where they know they could make money with their last mile monopolies they negotiated with local governments. A nice side effect is no other private or government initiatives will ever attempt to move in and attempt to compete with us because of those last mile contracts and and because we already took the low hanging customer fruit high density areas and they would never get a ROI, LOL sucker!

FTFY.

Re:And yet FIOS is not available in most areas.... (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964456)

Once FIOS expands, I'm sure the network will get bogged down and speeds will drop to below advertising speed.

Even with 100% uptake, FiOS can provide 80/80 service to every customer. The limiting factor is the neighborhood concentrators, which are slowly being upgraded to move the limit to somewhere near 300Mbps per customer.

Highs and Lows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963556)

Averaging hides highs and lows. I'm more interested in percentage of the time that I am receiving the advertised rate. It's relevant for connectivity in certain apps. For downloads total % of advertised bandwidth is relevant, but if apps are timing me out and at other points in time I'm getting 300% of the advertised speed, that doesn't correspond to good performance.

Easy for an ISP to game (1)

PetiePooo (606423) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963598)

This system would be easy for any ISP to game. QOS routing is already in place in all ISP networks. All any one of them would need is an example whitebox (eg. one of their employees or their friends), and they could ensure all packets destined for the target host are treated with the highest priority. All we can tell from that graph is CableVision doesn't do that...

Remeber too that ISPs route packets differently depending on the destination provider among other things. Anyone remember the debacle about Comcast refusing to peer Level 3? [dslreports.com] They thought the traffic was lopsided, and as a result, all Netflix customers on their network were routed over a congested transit link which they refused to embiggen.

I get more than what is advertised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963608)

I signed up for Comcast 20mbps then my modem died and bought a docsis 3.0 modem and now I get 62mbps. The maximum I get from a given site is usually 20mbps there is the rare sites where I can download at 50+, but is awesome for doing multiple things. I set the USENET download at 20mbps and I can still play online and make voip calls at the same time.

Service improved after I hooked up my 'Whitebox' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36963670)

I was also a participant in the study. My DSL service before the study was very poor. About a week and half after I received and connected my 'Whitebox' router my service got significantly better. You can see the performance was better (fewer dropped packets and higher substained bandwidth) in the personal graphs I received from Samknows after the first week and half. I have a feeling the my provider detected I was in the survey and made sure my traffic was prioritized.

Poor presentation (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963782)

The graphs don't give enough information to evaluate the claims. To tell you the average speed isn't useful without giving some indication of the data spread. For example if one customer gets 300% over advertised but 3 customers get 33% of advertised then service averages out to 100% of advertised.

.
A box-whisker graph [wikipedia.org] would give a much better sense of how customers are faring.

Moreover, the tests weren't run blind. The ISPs provided data to the people running the study to help them disambiguate whether bottlenecks were in the last mile or in delivery to the ISP. It wasn't clear to me why that was even needed as sluggishness from the cloud would be spread evenly across all ISPs unless an ISP was cramming 100,000 users onto a single T1 line.

I like to bash Comcast as much as the next guy but (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36963872)

I have to admit since I finally bit the bullet and went to their cable modem 20MB service, the thing virtually always test out at 31MB/s for looong periods of transfer, I have been quite happy. It's a little expensive, but it is fast, and (so far) consistently 30Mbps/5Mbps down and up - not just in short bursts (I was worried about that.)

Re:I like to bash Comcast as much as the next guy (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964236)

Around here Comcast is basically the same speed as Qwest is, the main difference is that they have that boosting technology that lets them borrow bandwidth from the loop when congestion is low.

Unfortunately, neither company is particularly interested in doing anything about it and Qwest has flat out stated that they won't be upgrading capacity in several Seattle neighborhoods leaving them with a connection of 1.5mbps max or comcast.

Re:I like to bash Comcast as much as the next guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964320)

I agree, in my opinion cable TV and customer service are extremely suspect, but I have the bargain Comcast service and can reach 15-20mb/s consistently.

Is the FCC unbiased in this whole process? (1)

spinninggears (551247) | more than 3 years ago | (#36964372)

From the report: "The data in this Report is based on a statistically selected subsetof those consumers—approximately 6,800 individuals—and the measurements taken in their homes during March 2011."

Interestingly, after a year of complaining to my ISP, using the data from my SamKnows router, that I was not getting anywhere close to my advertised download speed, in March 2011 I suddenly started getting it ( an ~4x boost). I wonder if my speed will now start to degrade now that the report is out? Or is it just coincidence?

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36964526)

how do i switch from the comcast i have (that is nigh unusable most evenings) to the one they tested (which is nigh 100% all day)?

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